31 May 2013

Happy Anniversary

We spent it packing, and beginning the process of putting nearly all our belongings in storage for the summer.
We spent it with friends, who have up their day to carry boxes and furniture and all kinds of heavy things.
We spent it with our friends' children, who wanted not so much to play as to help me put the kitchen in boxes.
We spent it with a musician, who took us to dinner and then to her yard full of blooms, who beautifully played a beautiful love song in our honor on her beautiful piano.
We spent it with the five fireflies who came out to blink just for me.
We spent it with each other, more glad than ever to be united for life.

30 May 2013

Fresh Bread

Usually, I make our bread.  And I meant to have an easy batch ready to throw in the oven this morning, but with all those empty boxes needing to be filled?  Yeah, it didn't happen.

I sent my husband down to our school cafeteria to pick up more boxes, and you know what he brought home? 

A fresh baked loaf of bread, from our friends the cooks. 

Our friends who have saved boxes for us for weeks on end now, who give hugs and prayers when we need them, and who provided (including the meal the bread enabled us to make in our half-packed home) three meals for us this week.

If you've ever moved before, you know how meaningful each meal provided by someone else can be during that last stretch.  We've had many of those this week. 

It almost feels like it should be a blog series, doesn't it?  These meals during moving week, those bittersweet moments of savoring friendships and saying goodbyes.  I remember them all so clearly, not only this week's collection, but also the ones cooked for us last summer when we left Michigan, and two years before that the meals prepared for us as we left Washington {state} behind.

We feel grateful that in our short months here in Virginia, many friends have slipped into our lives and hearts, and we have the tangible evidences of true friendship, of which the bread is but one example, surrounding us every day.

29 May 2013

What's Really Going on When We Work for God and Suffer Anyway

A quoted passage tonight, because these words sum it up better than mine ever could.

"Our work is to toil in the vineyard of the Lord, not merely for ourselves, but for the good of others.  Our influence is a blessing or a curse to others.  We are here to form perfect characters for Heaven.  We have something to do besides repining and murmuring at God's providences, and writing bitter things against ourselves.  Our adversary will not allow us to rest.  If we are indeed God's children, we shall be harassed and sorely beset, and we need not expect that Satan or those under his influence, will treat us well.  But there are angels who excel in strength, who will be with us in all our conflicts, if we will only be faithful.  Christ conquered Satan in our behalf in the wilderness of temptation.  He is mightier than Satan, and He will shortly bruise him under our feet."

Testimonies for the Church, vol 3, 526


Life is quite a mess today.  Boxes everywhere.  Empty ones, full ones, half-full ones.

Life is full of good things for the taste buds today.  Chocolate banana smoothies for breakfast.  (I would tell you where I got the recipe, but it is already sealed in a box.  I could reproduce it by memory, but then I would need to give you the source, which I do not know by heart.) Homemade granola.  And looking forward to a staff social tonight prepared by other hands.

Life is full of weeds and flowers and little volunteer trees, transplanted, today.  Some flowers, I planted.  Some weeds, I pulled.  The little trees, I watered.  Next week, I leave behind all my campus plantings for others to enjoy, for others to water, for others to weed.  I don't get to see them in their full late-summer glory, but they were still a balm to my heart this spring.  And I remember:  the other woman who planted flowers on campus isn't enjoying them this spring, either.  I'm simply glad she planted them, for their blooms still cheer the path for me.

26 May 2013

This is my Father's World

We walked out of the store this evening, steps weary.  There had simply been too many emotions for one day.

Then we heard the bells, sounds wafting over from a nearby steeple, speaking just for our sad hearts, just in time.

"This is my Father's world;
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong
Seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet....

"This is my Father's world!
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King,
Let the heavens ring!
God reigns--
Let the earth be glad!"

23 May 2013

How to be Like Jesus

Do you know that old song?

"Be like Jesus, this my song
In the home and in the throng.
Be like Jesus all day long,
I would be like Jesus."

Look up the rest of the verses sometime (a good place is the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, number 311), and ponder what they really mean, how daring our lives would be if we would truly be like Jesus.

Usually when I think of being like Jesus, I think about the things I want to do:  be kind, welcome children, provide enough food for five thousand people.

But there's more to being like Jesus than the warm fuzzy nice things.

"Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again...."

Wait.  What is reviled?  Mr. Webster says if you are reviled, you are spoken to abusively. 

So....to be like Jesus means that when someone is abusive to me in language or action, I don't say or do anything in angry retaliation.  I don't get to yell back if I get yelled at, or justify my revengeful acts or even thoughts and feelings by convincing myself that turnabout is fair play.

Tough stuff.

And there's more.

"... when He suffered, He threatened not..."

When people spit in His face?  He didn't use any power that He had to threaten them back.  Not words, not fire from heaven.  Even if it would have been fair for Him to do so. 

{Instead, He went on to pay the just price for the very sins people were committing against Him....but that would be a whole topic by itself.}

But how did He have such immeasurable self control?  Being like Him can seem like an impossible task.  Because I'd really like to threaten back while I'm suffering wrongs.  There are moments when I really would like to ask not so nicely how people could do what they've done.

"...but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously."  1 Peter 2:23

Jesus knew full well that there was Someone who would take care of every wrong, deal with every injustice, heal every wounded person who came to Him.  He trusted His Father to manage every circumstance He faced, and remained calm and collected in that faith.

Don't you think there's that kind of calm and collectedness for me?  For you?

21 May 2013

Shrubs for Landscaping

So I learned this trick today as I was working grounds on our campus. 

You know those areas where students walk through?  Those places they should walk AROUND so as not to mess up the landscaping?

Well, my boss pointed to an area like that today.  The former landscaper, he said, got tired of the students cutting the corner.

So she planted a firethorn (pyracantha). 

Wow.  Brilliant.  I guess a thorny bush of some kind really would be the best deterrent!  It would seem totally vindictive if firethorn plants weren't also stunningly beautiful when they bloom.  (Sorry for the lack of a photo of one.  Check Google images.)

And, oh, it makes me chuckle!  It's a big enough size that I'm sure no one ran into it by accident, but it does give me quite a humorous mind picture of what a poor student would look like if they did run into it!

20 May 2013

Two Peonies

A little past waist high, two-toned, delicate.

19 May 2013

Hiking in Shenandoah National Park

Today was a big day.  And you know how I went running for the first time in years on Friday?  It meant I started today's thirteen-mile hike sore. 
Our friend and guide, however, had plenty of trekking poles to spare, so I readily accepted the pair he offered, and away we went.
My mother-in-law was afraid I had taken on so much that once I got back alive, I would never want to go on a big hike again.  Maybe I had neglected to tell her of the time that without any prep I hiked from Hurricane Ridge to the bottom (roughly nine steep miles, if I remember correctly) and then when the evening activity was a four-mile round trip hike to some natural hot springs in the dark, I slipped my blistered and sore feet into my flip flops and that was that?
I (and some biology classmates of mine on the same delightful field trip) was sore for a week.  Could hardly climb even one stair.  (Railings and arms were made for times like these.)
Or maybe I had neglected to tell her about that backpacking trip to Ice Lake (in Oregon's Wallowas), again with no prep but with enough altitude gain for twenty-some switch-backs in six miles or so.  In the dark.  And right back down the next day.  I was sore for more than a week that time.
So she might have been worried I would be intimidated by soreness; I expected soreness and a lot of it.
What I DID fear, though, was something I don't think anyone else did.  I was afraid I would hit my rope's end about half way through, hold everyone up from finishing at anything like a reasonable time, and be a ball of tears.
Of course, I wouldn't feel in the least put out if someone else did that, but I couldn't bear the thought that I might be that person.
Long story short, I put all that out of my mind, got in the car with the others, accidentally left my phone in the car because I forgot I was planning to use it as my camera, and set out with the others. 
Our friend and leader kept a wonderful pace.  We kept moving well.  Every time my "bad" knee felt tired and before I told anybody about it, he stopped for photos, water, or rest, and I simply never felt rushed.  With a nice long lunch break (during which I aired out my feet and put on a clean pair of socks....felt wonderful!), I kept feeling good (if a little sore) through about mile twelve.  Then I felt just about done.  Then before I knew it we were in the parking lot.
I think I'll sleep well tonight.

17 May 2013

Hyperthyroidism and Running as Exercise

It has been a long time since I attempted going running.  Like, maybe more than three years.  And even back then, I struggled and struggled to run any distance without having to stop.  And by any distance, I mean one lap at the track.
Thing was, I had no idea at the time, or any of the other times I made attempts at running, that I had an overactive thyroid.  My overactive thyroid did a lot of things to slow me down in running and many areas of my life.  It made all my body parts work too hard too fast, making me tired all the time, and a lot of the time I didn't even realize it.
So this winter when a doctor at church told me I needed to get my thyroid checked, and I did, and some of my numbers were more than a thousand higher than they were supposed to be, and I started treatment, and within a few weeks my resting heart rate finally dropped below 90 beats per minute?
Yeah.  I started feeling like a new woman.  And acting like one too.
Then somewhere relatively out of the blue this week, I had this thought.  "Self, maybe it would be nice to try going running this week."
That is NOT a thought I would have had a couple of months ago.  But there I was, thinking this thought.  I tried running from one place to another on my grounds/landscaping job, and I could do it.  It didn't feel like my whole being was fighting the motions anymore.
Today, the thought grew stronger, so I suggested it to my husband.  He loves to run.  His parents love to run, together.  I knew he would love the idea, and he said so.  In fact, he said, "I always thought it would be so great to go running with my wife."  Or something to that effect.
It actually felt great, too.  In my adult life, I've been accustomed to the feeling of trying to run, while my whole body says, "You can't do this.  You're crazy for trying.  We, your body parts--ALL of us--revolt." 
You know what my body said today?  "This feels great.  It almost feels easy.  Sure, you'll get in better shape, but you've got this one.  No problem."
It felt wonderful.  Amazing.  Like I'm a normal human being or something.  A person who can exercise, and actually make sweet progress toward being and feeling in great shape.  Not just looking like I'm in great shape because I couldn't gain any weight no matter how hard I tried.
To describe how that feels?  Hmmmm.  Great.  It just feels great.  It gives me hope that when I go hiking Sunday (on that thirteen mile trail they've talked me into), I might actually make it back alive.
{Mr. Snake showed up in our wood pile today.  He has nothing to do with my going running today, but I'll show you his photo anyway.}

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Since my husband and I got married and went straight to graduate school, this is the first year I've had the delight of watching his expertise in the classroom.  (He's a wonderful teacher.) And I've learned a lot about the joys and struggles a classroom teacher goes through. 

Inspired by some other blog posts around the web recently, I thought I would put together my own take on showing appreciation for the teachers in your life, whether they're your teacher or your child's teacher.

1.  E-mail the teacher's boss, and boss's boss, letting them know several specific things you appreciate about the teacher's methods and work.  Copy or blind copy the teacher.  So many times, teachers and their bosses hear complaint upon complaint, but you never know what power an affirmation to someone's boss can have.

2.  Thank the teacher in writing (e-mail or hand written) for something specific they did to help you or your child grow.  Teachers invest a lot of time in energy in their students' growth, and it's easy for even the best teachers to wonder if their investments are paying off.  A specific and meaningful thank-you note can jump start their energy, at any time during the school year.

3.  Recognize the time a teacher may put in beyond their "required" hours with a gift that sets up them up for quality time with spouse and family.  This doesn't have to be expensive or complicated.  A basket of bubbles, water bottles, and sidewalk chalk for a day at the park.  A gift card for a smoothie place.  A gift card to a book store where they can buy a book to read aloud with spouse or children.  A picnic kit with cute paper plates, some fun reusable plastic ware, napkins, and a table cloth (they can choose their own food items, which is easier for you and them unless you know their allergies and dietary preferences).

4.  Pay attention to hints they give about who they are all year, and teach your kids to do the same.  Teachers spend a mountain of quality time with their students during the course of the school year.  If you're attentive, you're likely to find out what their favorites are:  hobbies, foods, music, whatever.  Act on those discoveries.

5.  Volunteer to help with an extra project in that teacher's program or area, and let the school know your donated time is in appreciation for a particular teacher.

6.  Make a donation (size doesn't matter) to the teacher's program.  If that's third grade, donate toward field trips or a classroom need you know they have.  If that's high school science, donate toward something needed in the lab.  If that's music at any level, donate toward scholarships, tours, instrument maintenance.  Ask what the needs are.  Then show your support with your donations.  And of course let the school know your gift was inspired by a teacher or something specific a teacher did.

So it's not an exhaustive list, but I hope it gets your creative juices going!  You'll notice the first couple of items on the list are free.  But they also have the capacity to be some of the most powerful things you can do for a teacher.

16 May 2013

I'm Not Perfect, But I Hope They Feel Special Anyway

I wanted to make cookies for my students the day of their recital, but I ran out of time and my mom had to bale me out.  Thing is, I forgot to tell her that the baking powder substitute I use (EnerG Baking Powder, http://www.ener-g.com/baking-powder.html) takes twice as much as regular baking powder, so her cookies, although she's an expert, were too hard.  I finally got new ones made and all put together and delivered today (nearly two weeks after the desired date), but I forgot to take a picture of them to show you.  They were cute little piano shapes.  I hope my students feel special even though I am tempted to think I failed because I didn't meet my deadline.

Tuesday, my husband's large choir met for the last time of the school year.  I had it all neatly planned, but I got going with my homemade musical eighth note cookies as well as my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (enough of each for about sixty kids) later than I wanted.  I was late getting things finished, and my in-laws jumped in to rinse grapes and load the car to take everything to the class....about half way through the period.  I felt like a total failure.  A total un-showered failure at noon, in pajamas no less.  But the students must have felt special, like I wanted them to, because they said they could hardly bear it that I didn't come down, and they've been thanking me all week every time I've come on campus.  Not that it was supposed to be about me or anything.  And it wasn't fancy.  It was just good to know they really did feel pampered.  Even though I was late.

Does it sound like I need to lighten up a little?  Probably.  Maybe next time--and I know there will be a next time when I frustrate myself for "missing" an arbitrary deadline--I'll remember everything worked out this time, and I won't stress so much.

Maybe it just counted that I care, that I am proud of their work this year.

15 May 2013

Jonah in the Whale, Part 2: How Not to be a Jonah

I felt like I ended my post on Jonah without a solution.  I felt like I examined the problem we get into, in our human weakness, but I didn't have words for what to do about it.  But I just read some good ones (words) that say it beautifully and succinctly.

" If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of others, we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us; but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of Christ for us, the same spirit will flow out to others."

White, Ellen G.  Steps to Christ.  Hagerstown, MD:  Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1908, p.121.

Jonah in the Whale: An Undesired Mercy

{I encourage you to read the book of Jonah.  It's not long, and it's sandwiched right between the books of Obadiah and Micah.}

We know the story of Jonah, the way he fled from doing the will and work of the Lord.  But we--you and I--would never do such a thing.  We would never want to take Jonah's path by ship and whale (or "great fish", to quote) and foot and sleep and please-throw-me-overboard-thank-you.  Because God is our Friend, right?  So loving.  So accepting.  So patient.  And we like it, don't we, that He's like that with everyone (and not just us)?  We want every person we know and even those we don't to know our Savior's love, forgiveness, and mercy, don't we?

Or is there that person or those people who wronged us, made our lives miserable, treated us unjustly, gave us grief in just about every area of our lives.....that person or those people whose mansions really ought to be far on the other side of heaven, where we don't plan to travel often? 

~Because we would never admit there might be a person or people we would rather not see in heaven at all.  We'd just rather spend our time with someone nice like Moses or Methuselah.~

And we get to some place in our heart of hearts that we probably don't even know is there.  A place where we reserve the grace of God for ourselves and people like ourselves, and not for the people who perhaps were more ignorant of God's requirements than we are, and who might repent before we do, and who hurt us.  Made us suffer.  Made us grow weary of doing good.  Made us want to run to Tarshish to get away from it all long enough for someone else to pick up the slack in the Lord's work, or even long enough for God's wrath to be poured out upon a whole city before we could get there to preach a saving message of warning.  Because we don't want to see those people from Ninevah ever again.  Not even in heaven, with changed lives, changed motives, changed hearts.  

We don't know it's there, that is, until we invest money not in putting ourselves closer to the things God wants for and from us, but in running away.  We pay for our ticket out, and board ship.  We even tell the other passengers we're daring enough to run away like this.  Then when we're sleeping through a storm that threatens not only our own lives but also the lives of everyone else on whatever has become our ship, others take over our job, reminding us to seek the One who provides all our needs including our needs for justice.  The One who doesn't destroy us either, even though we deserve it, too.  The One who sees every bit of the rebellion and pain in our hearts, and in mercy does not abandon even when we run away.

Jonah got to the place in his heart of hearts where he would rather die, drown in the raging sea, than do what God asked him to do.  And we can be so hard on him, so unsympathetic.  We really have no idea why he hated the people of Ninevah so much. 

{Because wouldn't he have to hate them to want them to be destroyed?  Or did he just feel ashamed when his prophecy did not seem to come true?}

Maybe, sometimes, we feel just like Jonah did.  All we want to do is escape.  Maybe, on the other hand, all we really need is God's forgiveness and love to flood our hearts and overflow to the very people we thought we didn't want next door in heaven.

No matter how deeply rooted Jonah's desire to escape, God's desire to save--both him, and the people of Ninevah--kept pursuing.  By a miracle, Jonah wasn't destroyed.  God calmed the sea for the sakes of the sailors who could hardly bear to throw a man overboard, and they weren't destroyed either.  And by another miracle , every person and animal in Ninevah went on an immediate fast when they realized their sins, and sought mercy from the God of heaven.  

And isn't it beautiful that God's mercy still comes, even when we don't want it to?  That it can transform the deepest darkness in our hearts?  That our story is still open-ended (like the book of Jonah seems to be) and we can still accept God's mercy for us toward others?  That instead of being thrilled to get away from God's plan, we can by grace delight to be in the center of it, no matter how difficult the road seems to get?

I've had thoughts about the book of Jonah before.  Perhaps you'd like to read them as well?

A Run into God's Mercy
Reflections on Mercy and Anger

Today's photos come from my walks through the orchard last month, below, in case you missed them.

I Must Walk Through the Orchard
Me Again, in the Orchard
Something Better than Walking through the Orchard?
Can't Get Enough

09 May 2013

"The Darkness and the Light are Both Alike to Thee"

I've alluded to this in a couple of recent posts:  my husband and I are moving unexpectedly this summer, and we don't know where we're headed yet.

I hesitate to talk about it here for a multitude of reasons, but a huge one for me is that this blog is a place for finding joy.  For myself and you.  Because I know myself:  if I vent, I easily get myself into more and more of a place of darkness and set myself up to forget anything God has done for me.

If I may seem to have a majority of happy posts, or posts that share beauty and flowers, I'm not trying to hide or be fake.  I'm just trying to gather the flowers along my path of life, not the thorns.

That said, I want to talk a tiny bit about darkness today, because the light gleaming at me from the Bible is such a contrast to it.

Because I am in that place now where I don't know what's coming, and I don't have the slightest idea where the next step will lead or what God's plan might possibly be.  I like to plan, to know.  But right now, I can't {plan}, and I don't {know}.  I had hoped to be in my current lovely home with the huge garden space for several years at least.

I'm having to give up not only what I have, but also what I knew I would have here should we have stayed.

And at the moment, I don't have anything concrete to look forward to.

Have you been in a place of darkness like this before?  Figuratively?  Literally?  Maybe in the woods later than you planned, without a flashlight on a cloudy night? 

You take a step, feeling your way and testing the ground ahead before you put your full weight on that foot.  You hold tightly to a branch, a tree trunk, something you hope is secure while you try to navigate truly only one step at a time.

It can feel like slow going.  It can feel like it takes forever to get anywhere.

Life feels a little like that right now.  Slow going.  No sense of the landscape.

So when I begin to study this week's Sabbath School lesson (http://ssnet.org/lessons/13b/less06.html), and I read Psalm 139:12 where David is talking to God, my mind gets boggled.

"Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."

Darkness doesn't hide my landscape from God.  He doesn't take each step wondering if it's in the right direction, or if there's sturdy ground under the next foot forward.  Darkness is just the same as light to Him. 

To God, everything is always clear.

Purpose.  Direction.  Plans. 

I know, because of many evidences of the last few weeks and even through my whole life, God walks with me today.

Today, then, this darkness and uncertainty I feel makes no difference to Him.  He sees the way clearly from beginning to end--not just the next step I'm tempted to worry over.  I can cling to His arm.

He knows I want a garden, and He's planning for that.  Meanwhile, He arranged for me to have a landscaping job to fill the time I would have spent starting my own garden right now.

And that's just one example.

And writing it down?  It really does help His guidance seem more real to me, even yet today, and makes the darkness seem less foreboding, less something to worry over than something I'll look back on one day and see a grand adventure.

08 May 2013

A First: Making Strawberry Jam

Making jam last week and this week was a delightful first for me.  I wanted to make it last summer, but comprehensive exams may or may not have stood in the way.  Oh, and moving.  That stood in the way too.

This year, I was determined to pick and freeze strawberries, as well as make jam.  While it's not the season yet for a lot of you, and the farms here are saying it will be another week or so for us, I did do some price checking.  At Costco, they are selling the berries for ten cents a pound less than the you-pick place I know of.  You can guess, right, that I did not wait to pick my own?

Because I'll do a lot to save a dime, but if I save a dime and actually work less to save it?  Sign me up.

And because there are changes coming in our household, and I don't know from day to day what I'll be doing or where I'll be, let alone where I'll be living by July.  (That surprise place may come before then, even).

Thus, NOW is a good time for strawberries.  They won't go in the freezer, since frozen goods don't travel well.  And rather than give up on preserving berries because life is full of change, I want to be resilient in the midst of the changes.  Which means preserving so that the berries will not be perishable.  Which means making jam.  And possibly fruit leather....but that doesn't last long when I'm around!

As a result, there are a dozen or so little jam jars sitting full around the house, ready to be packed for a move or eaten, whichever comes first.

{Being ignorant of jam making and somewhat in a hurry since the strawberries were already in my car, I just bought pectin and followed the recipe on the container.  It worked exactly like it said it would, and the jam is yummy.  In the future, though, I want to try low- or no-sugar options, or freszer jam.  Would love to see recipes and hear experiences from any of my readers who know more than I do!}

07 May 2013

Seeing the Sights (The National Mall)

We had such a wonderful time, with my mother being here for a week.  Do you know what we discovered? 1.  There is such a thing as this lush and gorgeous hydrangea color.  2.  A week is VERY short.  She just left today, and we miss her already.  And it's not just because she helped with the dishes.  (It's because she's delightful and we love her company.)

I had never been to the National Mall before.  My mom and husband had been, but they wanted to see it again.  Thus we three set out, sack lunch and walking shoes ready to go.  We started at the Capitol Building end, where we had our lunch next to some selfish ducks and a mocking bird who knew lots of songs.  From there, my husband spotted the United States Botanical Garden, which I simply had to see.  If you go, walk through all the galleries inside and out.  I loved the children's garden, where kids actually get to pump water and tend some of the plants, or run through the large growth of bamboo.  Way cool.

Check out this banana blossom.  Is that just a tropical wonder, or what?

While I was a bad gardener and tourist and did not get the name of this plant, I did want to show it to you anyway.  Different shades of salmon and pink seemed to flow from the same plant.  

When I lived on the main thoroughfare of a relatively small town, and the Veterans' Day Parade went right past my front porch every year, I began to take the time to be sure I thanked my greath uncle for his service as a medic during World War II.  He saw a lot.  He speaks of surgeries on American soldiers and Japanese alike, sometimes with shoulder-to-shoulder guards facing away from the operating table to protect the life the surgeons sought to save.  He speaks of wading waist deep through Japanese money.  

He speaks of meeting up with an old college roommate in the Philippines, how that roommate sent a gift to my great aunt in anticipation of her marriage to my great uncle, and how that package arrived on the very day of their wedding months later, silk stockings included (at a time when some women were using a marker to draw a line up the backs of their legs to make it appear that they were wearing stockings).

He speaks of being eligible for a furlough and filling out the paperwork to go home for a visit, only to get to the last line where his signature would go, stating he had no classified information and would take no classified information home...he speaks of walking outside, burning his journal full of detailed records of every event of the war he experienced, walking back inside, and signing the papers.  He would not sacrifice his honesty in order to take his journal home.

When I call to say hello from the World War II memorial, he speaks of how in everything, it's all simply a story about how God preserved one young man's life.

I can't explain why one life has been spared and the next was not--so many were not.  I can say two things, though.  First, I'm immensely grateful to all those who serve and have served our country.  Second, my great uncle's story reminds me that no matter how difficult life may seem in a moment, the dangers and stresses are  temporary--but his integrity and character that led him to burn an entire war journal rather than even entertain a shade of dishonesty have lasted him a lifetime.

05 May 2013

The Beauty of an Herb

Do you see this beautiful flower bed?  It sits next to the Smithsonian castle in Washington D.C.  Sure, the tulips were past their prime today, but I had to capture this beauty of a border, this lush and inviting green. 

I didn't expect to see it here, so ornamental you'd forget you could chop off the whole plant and eat it.  I pondered all day how if there were so many people visiting the nation's capitol, it was entirely possible I could run into an old friend.  I just didn't expect that friend to be a sweet curvy row of parsley.

03 May 2013

My Amazing Husband

On Tuesday, I went to Washington D.C. area to pick up my mom.  She and my dad live in Oregon state, so having her out this direction is a real treat.  We had all kinds of adventures:
I rear ended someone whose car didn't have damage but he wanted to call the police anyway to be sure I didn't hit and run. 
I bought a new windshield wiper that blew off because I had forgotten how to put it on right, so I put the old one back on the other side an the good one on the driver's side until I could buy another new wiper and put that one on. 
We visited Mount Vernon, saw the beautiful view from George and Martha's back porch, looked in their guest rooms that held more than 600 overnight guests a year, prowled their gardens, and bought some heirloom seeds propagated right there.
We experienced the satisfaction of traveling in an HOV lane...and I survived driving in the city all day.  YAY ME.  Or yay thyroid suppressing medication?  Either way.  YAY.
We traveled home to a house I had not left in perfect shape.  And you know what we found?
Carport swept clean.
Floors swept.
Bathrooms spotless.
Sweeping and vacuuming done.
Dishes washed.
Trash taken out.
I don't know if my husband has ever made a pie before, but the pie he made is amazing.  Delicious.  I'm going to finish this post and go have another piece. 
What a great guy, right?  Finished my long list of unfinished chores AND made a special treat?
Points for the husband.  I love being married to such a great guy.